Customer Service Skills

How to Handle Customer Service Complaints

One of the most important customer service skills is the ability to handle customer complaints without relying on manager involvement. Here are some ways to ensure that your call center handles complaints well.

Business would be much easier without customers . . . or at least without customer complaints.

But unfortunately, customer complaints come with the territory of successful small business ownership.

Customer service complaints are usually funneled through customer service departments. But the existence of customer service personnel doesn't mean that your business is equipped to handle your customers' problems. If your call center staff isn't trained to handle customer complaints, they could do more harm than good.

The most successful call centers rely on a standardized process for handling customer service complaints. As you consider how you want to handle customer complaints in your workplace, there are several steps that need to be incorporated into your team's complaint resolution process.

  • Listen to the customer's complaint. The best way to make an upset customer even angrier is to make him feel like your call center isn't listening to his concerns. It's important for customer service employees to be trained in listening skills including the ability to identify primary issues.
  • Try to understand the customer's position. It's tempting for customer service teams to adopt an "us vs. them" attitude toward customers. Hammer home the fact that customers are not the enemy and teach your team how to exercise empathy when dealing with irate customers.
  • Maintain a respectful tone. A professional attitude is a must for handling problem customers. Even though they will probably be exposed to the occasional verbal tirade, call center employees need to know how to maintain a respectful tone and a professional demeanor at all times.
  • Suggest options. An effective way to diffuse customer complaints is to give the customer options. The more complaint resolution options you give your call center, the easier it will be for them to de-escalate the situation and successfully resolve your customers' issues.
  • Take immediate action. Whenever possible, customer complaints should be resolved on the spot. Delayed responses multiply the potential for your team to drop the ball, turning a minor customer complaint into a major customer loyalty problem.

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